MPA Frequently Asked Questions

The program consists of 40 units of coursework, 20 units of Core courses required of all students, 16 units of specialized study in either Public or Nonprofit Management, and 4 units of electives. Students also have to successfully complete either a thesis or comprehensive exam.

Prerequisites include coursework or extensive experience in state and local government, federalism, and influences on domestic policy making (interest groups). Candidates without such a background can be admitted to the program, but must make up deficiencies during the first year. Prerequisite courses do not count toward the 40 unit degree.

Admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a gpa of at least 3.0 for the last 60 units of college-level work attempted. The GRE is not currently required. Department and university applications are also required. Department application materials include the department application, a statement of purpose, a resume, and three sealed letters of recommendation. University application materials include the university application, a statement of purpose (the same statement can be submitted with both applications), transcripts, and an application fee. Upon receipt of all application materials recommendation to the Univeristy from the MPA Coordinator is also required.

University policy allows seven years to complete all requirements.

Classes are either 2 or 4 units. Assuming 8 units a semester, the coursework can be completed in about 2 ½ years. The comprehensive exam is taken in the semester following completion of all coursework. For a thesis, plan on an additional year.

Courses are offered in the evenings, typically from 6:00-9:40p.m. Prerequisites may be offered during the day.  Online courses are not offered.

Yes. Students can enroll in courses through the School of Extended Education's Open University Program, on a space-available, instructor permission required, basis. If student is eligible, up to 9 units of extension credit can be applied toward the degree. Plan to meet with the MPA Coordinator prior to registering.

Students come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Recent students include BA graduates in Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Political Science, social service and health professionals, law enforcement personnel, water agency employees, and staff from varied spread of nonprofit agencies.

Fees are subject to change. For a complete list of fees and other charges, see Fees, Expenses, and Financial Assistance in the catalog.

The application deadline for Fall semester is March 30 of the same year. The deadline for Spring semester is October 30 of the previous year.

You may access both the departmental application and University application online from the MPA Application Process and Requirements link. 

Alternatively, you may contact the Political Science Department at Sonoma State University for departmental application materials (707-664-2179); or email Viri Ruiz, Administrative Support Coordinator.

Contact the SSU Admissions and Records Office for questions regarding the university application (707-664-2778). There is a $55 university application fee.